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Monday, December 7, 2009


It is the season of Advent in the Church, and we are called to consider the waiting period of Mary, Joseph and the whole world for the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

My thought is a simple one.

The word "anamnesis" is used by Plato for "recollection" or "remembrance." For the Christian, this word takes on new meaning in light of Christ's words in the Gospels, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me" (Lk. 22:17). Every celebration of the Eucharist is a remembering of Christ's sacrifice and the salvation offered to all mankind through his Body and Blood in the Church.

This is, perhaps, obvious. But to draw the idea a bit further, consider how memory is ever present with us. Day by day, every instance and occurance continues and builds within you. You cannot eradicate anything that has passed by, for time does not obey our wills. So as we grow and develop, especially cognitively speaking, that which we remember becomes more a more a part of our being.

We will find ourselves recollecting fond memories as we grow older, revisiting times and places that hold special significance. In particular, we hold fast to memories of people when they are not able to be present to us in the immediate time.

In practicality, I find my mind lingering on childhood fun, on words and moments my parents had with me, on periods of intense joy with friends and on many moments of immense challenge or change in my life. My mission trips to Ethiopia and Jamaica, my time spent living in Gaming, Austria, my time working in New York last year, my friends who I loved so dearly in college but who I have not kept in touch with... these memories allow me to revisit my old feelings, the lasting impression of those moments, but also to renew the feelings in the here and now, to reassure myself of the reality of those times, places and people.

Specifically love. This is the hallmark of what I am considering. When I was dating someone who lived states away, there were certainly times that I felt I must be making up the reality of the relationship. Likewise, when my closest friends live states away, there are times when communication on the phone or through messages just isn't enough to provide clear and concrete evidence of their affection and love.

This is the epitome of what Christ is inferring when he says that we must remember him. It is more than we can really articulate, because it happens in the part of the mind that is not really controllable by our intellect. There is a memory of his love that is stamped into our souls, a memory that lasts beyond all intelligence, because it was created when we were created. Cognitively, we were not aware of God's love in an intelligible way until we were five, six, seven years old. But in our essences we have known him from the time his hands were fashioning us out of nothing. We cannot call ourselves forth, nor create ourselves. We exist, we are, and that is all. No matter how hard we try, there is no possible way for us to will ourselves into being. As such, there is this imprint that holds us.

We remember what is lasting and deep, and this aids us in transending from what we cannot see with our physical eyes to what we must know with our hearts. No, we may not be able to be held in Christ's arms and feel the safety and peace and joy of his love. Yet, in our memory it is so, and as we remember his love it is made real and present to us.

This is what I believe our season of Advent is meant to be. Memory made alive in our hearts. Who he is, and what he has said, and what he has done. The God of the world made human, the mystery of the Incarnation, the joy of the Nativity, the Word of God, the Lamb of God, alive in the womb of Mary and now given to us in the flesh through the Eucharist.

So let us remember who Jesus is. Let us meditate on his words in Scripture, on his holy life and the miracles and teachings he gave. Let us also allow him to bring up his memory in our hearts - to reveal to us the many times he has been with us in this life, most especially when it would seem that he has not. Let us seek to deepen the foundation of faith, with every opportunity of being united with him, body, blood, soul and divinity. Let our anamnesis lead us to strong conviction of the love he has for us. His love has been eternal and will forever be. So memory spans all time and will forever go on. We cannot forget that he is always present and will be with us forever.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Important Questions

Remember those wonderful moments when you wanted to shout "eureka! I have it!" and run around rejoicing in your classroom? No? Perhaps you did, or perhaps you just wanted school to end as soon as possible.
I can't honestly remember too many times when I shared in the sentiments of awe and surprise at understanding something that had eluded me for a time, but there was one triumphant moment I recall.

Like all good literary-musical-type people, I can barely add in my head, and anything with the world "algebra" in it is akin to reading Chinese (because, being literary, languages with letters such as German or Spanish are foreign, but not so hard. A language with symbols is just like math! Numbers are supposed to mean things that they don't mean... ah!). Anyway, I was in a "graphing calculator" class in high school, and although I never learned how to program in the formulas to make my life easy (no wonder everyone else got good grades and I was just sitting there stupidly, lol), I DID learn how to make programs :).

So, while (as I said) all the other students were putting their time to good use by programming in the formulas to get through the tests, I was busy creating programs that asked questions about teachers or students we all knew and then gave you a few different answers to choose from, all of which were rather funny.
So we would pass my "calculator quizzes" aroung the room and enjoy giggling while my teacher was trying to be serious (which she was ALWAYS successful at!).

I will openly admit that every time I managed to make something on that calculator I was shocked. I just couldn't understand how it worked! Yet, there I was managing to achieve some small greatness. 

So what is it about a moment of eureka! that makes it so lasting in our memory? I was sixteen when I learned how to program quizzes... seven years later I still remember the excitement and pleasure I had then.
I believe that part of the stunning branding of these experiences is that one of the important questions has been discovered.

Yes, I said that a question had been discovered, not answered.

I believe many of the most important questions do not ever become "answered" in our lives. These are the on-going questions - the ones that need time to grow with us because they are pivotal, if not intrinsic, to our self-discovery.

Now, how does learning how to program a calculator affect my self-discovery? This experience was answering many questions internally, even though objectively that was not my purpose. Questions such as, "am I able?", "where are my boundaries?", "what are my limits?", "am I good enough?", "am I intelligent enough?", in fact, "am I enough?". These small tests of the person throughout life are constantly going back to our deeper consciousness. Although we often do not think of it, even something as simple as writing on a blog and finding that we have accomplished a statement we felt needed to be made... that can lead to a far deeper analysis and awareness of our inner heart and mind.

It is most imporant that we ask these questions. Even if we are not taking the time to integrate the answers and analyze our results in light of our self-discovery, we need to slow down enough to ask the questions.
Why? Who? How? What? These should fit into everything... why are we here? Who are we? What is our purpose? How do our actions affect us? How do we affect others? How does the world affect us? Why do we affect each other? Is there a reason for everything? What is the reason for anything? Is there an ultimate cause? What is our final end? How did we come into existence? Are others necessary? Is it necessary that we experience all of this world? Is it necessary for others that we exist? Is it necessary for us that others exist? Etc...

The list can go on and on, but those are the kind of internal questions that can and should be running along within us when we are doing anything. Even when we aren't doing anything. Even if we are simply being. Perhaps more when we are simply being.

We will find ourselves the subjects of eureka! moments more and more when we realize that they are not only single moments which we recall in fond memory, but on-going processes which we will perhaps never see the end of. Even as we are old and reaching our ends, I am sure we will be shocked to discover things about ourselves and the world that we just "understand" all of a sudden. And we will hopefully always find ourselves wondering how we didn't see that fact before, or know that truth, only to be more aware that there is always more truth to uncover.

Monday, September 21, 2009

USCCB Press Release from Sept. 9, 2009

USCCB News Release

September 10, 2009


USCCB Officials Welcome President Obama's Statements On Abortion, Care For The Poor In Response To Health Care Address

WASHINGTON—Calling it an important contribution to a crucial national debate, officials speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed President Obama's September 9 address on health care reform, particularly his statements regarding abortion and the uninsured.

"We agree that 'no one should go broke because they get sick,'" said Kathy Saile, Director of Domestic Social Development at the USCCB. "That's why the U.S. Bishops have worked for decades for decent health care for all. The Catholic Church provides health care for millions, purchases health care, picks up the pieces of a failing health system, and has a long tradition of teaching on ethics in health care. Health care reform that respects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and urgent national priority. We welcome the President's speech as an important contribution to this essential national debate and task."

"We especially welcome the President's commitment to exclude federal funding of abortion, and to maintain existing federal laws protecting conscience rights in health care," said Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB. "We believe that incorporating essential and longstanding federal laws on these issues into any new proposal will strengthen support for health care reform. We will work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that these protections are clearly reflected in new legislation, so no one is required to pay for or take part in abortion as a result of health care reform."

"We agree with the President that there are details that need to be ironed out," said Saile. "And with his address last night, we see the opportunity to work towards a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity, access for all with a special concern for the poor, and inclusion of legal immigrants. We also see the possibility of meeting the bishops' goal to pursue the common good and preserve pluralism, including freedom of conscience and a variety of options, and restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers."

Keywords: health care, health care reform, abortion, conscience protection, immigrants, U.S. bishops, USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, President Obama, address

Teen Pregnancy (Courtesy of American Papist)


"Teen Birth Rates Higher in Highly Religious States"

I love science. Especially science about sex. It leads to such interesting conclusions.
U.S. states whose residents have more conservative religious beliefs on average tend to have higher rates of teenagers giving birth, a new study suggests.
The relationship could be due to the fact that communities with such religious beliefs (a literal interpretation of the Bible, for instance) may frown upon contraception, researchers say. If that same culture isn't successfully discouraging teen sex, the pregnancy and birth rates rise. (Live Science)

Now, I have a different interpretation. I would tend to think that religious individuals are less likely to choose abortion once pregnant. And that is why the teen birth rates are higher among religious individuals - because those babies aren't being killed in the womb.
The actual study, of course, "don't say anything about cause and effect", but that doesn't stop the scientists from forming their own conclusions:
"We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."

How odd because - again - I would conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the choice to abort a child once he or she has been conceived.
Am I biased? Probably. Are the scientists biased? Probably.
But the difference is that the scientists look at this issue through the lens of contraception, and I look at it through the lens of abortion. Maybe we can find common ground in admitting that both can be a factor.
Oh, and that teens having abortions is far worse than teens becoming pregnant.
And that the Church proposes very effective solutions to both problems. If anyone will listen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

President Obama's Speech on Health Care from Oct. 9, 2009

So I know it's a lot to read, but I always preferred getting the full information to another person's synopsis, so please read and watch this if you missed the President's address yesterday!

God bless (and save) America.

Friday, September 4, 2009

St. Francis Xavier

If one were to read the first post of this blog, one would discover that the name and idea for the blog stem first from the Scripture passage of Luke 12:49, in which Christ says, "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing," and second from a book by Louis de Wohl titled Set All Afire.

Set All Afire is a narrative on the life and mission of St. Francis Xavier. I highly recommend reading this book for any age and at any level of interest. De Wohl is a wonderful author and his depiction of St. Francis is so alive and rich that any reader will wonder at how they are not doing crazy and unbelievable things with their lives, if such a man as Francis existed.

Francis' fire to accomplish so much stems from a deep love of the Lord, and it is this same source of strength which we are invited to draw from on a daily basis. That was the hope and focus of this blog - to be a place of encouragement for all of us to continually work for the Kingdom of God, to not grow slack in zeal and to know the support of a community.

So keep up the good work, keep fighting the good fight, and never allow fear, doubt, sloth or malice to keep you from doing the will of the Lord, which will always and forever be to love God first and your neighbor next!!!

N/A but True!

For the purposes of this blog, we can call this post N/A.
Yet, I'm a girl from Ohio getting really excited as the fall weather moves into Virginia, only to be told that it doesn't snow here much!!!
So now all I can think about is getting lost in that cold, fun-filled percipitation.
Judge me if you're from the south, I'll understand.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Scream

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my weaknesses is Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I have often joked that Ben and Jerry were my dates on countless evenings in. They are sometimes the best of dates at the time, but like so many other men, have a tendency to turn up later in the most unwelcome of places.

I am breaking up with Ben and Jerry.

Ben and Jerry announced yesterday that they will be renaming my favorite flavor, Chubby Hubby, to "Hubby Hubby" in celebration of the legalization of gay marriage in Vermont.

Before I mount my conservative soapbox, allow me to make one thing clear: I do not in any way hate gays. I have some friends who are gay, and I love them just as much as I do anyone else. All people are made in the image and likeness of God, and deserve respect and love.

OK, now onto the soapbox.

Anything that breaks down the family structure mustn't be glamorized. Why am I against gay marriage? Because it is the government telling the people that something unnatural is OK and encouraged. Many people unfortunately use the legal system as a moral code. If the law says that I can abort my child, then it must be OK. If the law says that two men can marry and enjoy the same legal rights as a man and woman, then I see nothing wrong with it. NO! When we allow two people of the same sex to marry, we are teaching our children that there aren't standards. In the end it will create a broken society.

For now, Häagen Dazs will have to do. I will miss you, Ben and Jerry. Perhaps I will see you on Free Ice Cream Day.

Grassroots Films

This may seem like old news to many of you, but if you haven't checked out Grassroots Films, you really need to! Watch the trailer for the Human Experience and go see it sometime soon!!!

American Papist: Not Your Average Catholic!: Video: The most awesome Ordination video you'll ever see

American Papist: Not Your Average Catholic!: Video: The most awesome Ordination video you'll ever see

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ah Yes.. and NY Times as Well

The Times publised this article on Friday, misrepresenting the US Catholic Bishop's opinions on Obama's Health Reform Bill. 
There was an amendment published the following day and there has been a letter sent in response from Bishop Murphy and Cardinal Rigali addressing the issues which were not properly presented.

The comments for this article show the ignorance of so many not only on this issue but more importantly the role of the Bishops and their stance. As Catholics we really must keep ourselves informed so that we can effectively clarify for others the true position of our Church.

Follow Up

Just a quick follow up to the article below: you should read the comments of fellow Americans on this issue.

Really? We need to think about what this means!

This article is found in The Washington Times,

Within the article we hear that two teachers from a public school in Florida are going on trial for "their offer of a mealtime prayer."

The attorney, Mathew Staver, is quoted as saying, "I have been defending religious freedom issues for 22 years, and I've never had to defend somebody who has been charged criminally for praying."

The student class president, Mary Allen, was actually kept from speaking at graduation because she was a "known Christian."

This is ridiculous. Perhaps we should expect the ACLU to also sue the state for the county this school is located in being named "Santa Rosa," since that is "Saint Rose" in Spanish and clearly that is infringing on personal rights to not be exposed to Christian anything.

I was living in Long Island for the past year and there is a high volume of Jewish families near my old house. I would run by the Synagogue often and wave "hello" to the Rabbi and the many people going to pray. Was I wrong to respect their religion and religious beliefs? Should I rather have been put out that I couldn't always run on the side walk (public property) because part of their beliefs includes not driving on the Sabbath and therefore walking to Synagogue?! Really?

Read it for yourself and think about it. There is certainly more than one side to this issue, but it really means something. How far has our country come from where we once were? I still think it is somewhat ludicrous that so many of our ancestors migrated to this country specifically for the sake of religious freedom, and now we have "fake" religous freedom... one where everyone is so free that no one is free. We can't express for fear of upsetting or offending the next person over! Maybe I'd like to know more about your religion. Maybe I need some truth and answers to questions. Maybe young children would not grow up with so much pain and confusion if they were given morality, virtue, and standards of what is right and wrong from an early age instead of being told that it's all ambiguous and relative. In case anyone can remember how it feels when you're a teenager, every day is a new experience of highs and lows and stresses and fears. How are you supposed to know what is good when you can't figure out how you feel about yourself or other things? And then we look at the problems that come from such a relativisic (and essentially lazy) attitude and we say "what's wrong?" and "why are they like this?"

Anyway, my rant is over but I think the article earns reflection. One day I may be numbered among the parents sending their little ones off to school. I plan on working for that place of education to be the best that my taxes can pay for, the best that this wealthy and educated nation can offer, and the best that my child deserves.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For Laughs

This may not be as entertaining to everyone else, but I liked it :). This guy was just showing his support for a health care reform that actually serves the people and doesn't kill children. And he's Texan.

"Plaintiffs have certain and ascertainable rights under state and federal law." -LifeNews

This article is found at and discusses the ruling of a judge in favor of two pharmacy owners seeking to preserve their rights in a conscience issue conerning drugs such as the Plan B emergency contraceptive. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Lord, Let You Light Shine Unto Others Through Me"

What a beautiful and meaningful prayer from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta!

I'll never forget the day when Mother Teresa left this life to transition into Eternal Life. I'm sure those close to her were saddened by her loss, but I, not having known her personally, can remember thinking how amazing it is that I have walked this world at the same time as someone who will be in history and religion books for years to come for one simple reason-her love.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mother Teresa's story, she was the founder of the religious order Missionaries of Charity, who worked to improve life for those in poverty-stricken India. She won a Nobel prize for her work, and her work with the impoverished made her a household name throughout the world.

Mother Teresa essentially became so famous by her love, but Who did this love come from to begin with? Are we even capable of such love? If you felt a call from the Lord to up and leave your family, friends, and job to go serve the poor in some third-world country, could you do it?

Without a thunderous cloud or visit from Gabriel, I know I sure couldn't.

But what does it take to be so loving and become the kind of person who would abandon one's will, as Mother Teresa did?

As cliche as it might sound, I believe it takes true surrender. To truly mean, "Lord, let your Light shine unto others through me," you are giving the Lord permission to use you for His Greater Glory. It is important to note that this is not your glory, but His.

"Lord let your Light shine unto others through me." Pray it. Mean it. Take the plunge.

Maybe some day I will too.

Blood Money, A Documentary on Abortion

You need to watch this trailer, and support such a worthy effort!!

A Little Biblical Commentary for Your Morning

So upon searching the phrase "He/I will never forsake you or abandon you" in the New American Bible (NAB), I came across a fun coincidence (if those exist). Both Deuteronomy 31 and Hebrews 13 have those words. The verses are as follows:

Deut. 31:6 - "Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you."

Hebrews 13:6- "...for he has said, "I will never forsake you or abandon you." Thus we may say with confidence: "The Lord is my helper, (and) I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"

These are so beautiful, with a very similar message, and part of me suspects St. Paul (working under the Holy Spirit, of course) wasn't opposed to restating that beautiful part of Deuteronomy with the inverse verse number (I'm still hung up on 31 - 13).

Either way, this is so wonderful. God himself tells us that he is faithful.
Consider the times God has spoken of who he is. He says, "I AM". He claims his all-knowing, all-powerful, all-and-only-good being. And through Christ we hear other names such as "I am the light," "I am the living bread," "I am the way and the truth and the life," etc...
Here we have another beautiful expression of the depth and power of God in his infinite goodness - total fidelity. He is the one who is faithful. He will never abandon us. Rather, he goes before us in all things, making the path before us that we are to tread.

In John 14 he says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going, you know the way."

Truly, he is truth, and the truth is that he is faithful, far beyond our understanding and comprehension. He will never forsake us or abandon us. As it says in Exodus 14:14-
"The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

Beautiful Article of Hope from the Dever Post

This article in the Denver Post explains a Catholic crisis-pregnancy ministry called The Gabriel Project. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Some "TMI" References, But Great News

The CDC gives a lot of information in this article.. some of which you may not want to read. If you have either studied such things as STD's, contraception, biology or you have a decent awareness of these issues, then feel free to go through all of it.

Either way, look at the beginning of the article, the first paragraph in bold. There is a statement there that seems to FINALLY be making its way from common sense to the scientific world, and it is the "proof" we need to argue a both natural and moral side of saving sex for marriage to those who will only accept something "official" like the CDC.

From AP, SD Judge on Abortion Rights

A SD Judge rules in favor of both a woman who is suing Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood. 1/2 victory?

Non-Partisan Site Reveals Truth

Factcheck does reveal that abortion is covered in the health care plan of HR 3200 as it stands, whatever "fabrications" the President might claim the pro-life side has made.

CMA Will Not Support HR 3200 As Is (

John Brehany, a medical ethicist who directs the CMA, told the Catholic Sentinel, "“While it is unfortunately true that physicians are paid for procedures rather than providing advice, and that in many cases people do not give adequate attention to end of life treatment decisions prior to a health crisis, the Catholic Medical Association cannot support Rep. Blumenauer’s bill as it stands."

Read the full article here:

Roman Missal

This is kind of a big deal.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chastity Help

These are just a few brief references, but you will be amazed at how many sites are out there with information, support and guidance. If you aren't sure where you are going or what is right, give the truth some time to sink in. There is freedom in living this lifestyle. Practically speaking, you can't have any surprise diseases, infections or a pregnancy that you aren't prepared for. Internally speaking, your self-respect and belief in your own dignity will dramatially increase. Holistically speaking, you will see that these "restrictions" on your behaviors are actually paths to joy and again, freedom, because you are not serving yourself or allowing anything to control you but are making a choice for your own good and the good, love and respect for others.

Feel free to add others, the more the merrier :)

HR 3200

Americans are already getting a lot of different voices saying crazy things about what is happening to our heath care. Better to read it for yourself, right? Well if you are serious enough to check into it more thouroughly, you'll find all 1015+ pages here:

Try searching for key phrases or words if there are really things that interest you. Also, check here: for the various amendments that passed or failed throughout July.

And keep reading!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gardasil and What Is Right

I'm not going to go through this too much - it's worth reading on your own.

But this was my response to many of the comments:

"This information is unfortunately not going to help those who have already been infected because it is not a cure. However, if presented to young people prior to sexual activity, self awareness and a better understanding of the body can aid them in practicing self control and a much healthier lifestyle. Ideally, there would be much less of a need for drugs such as gardasil if young people were better informed and able to make conscious decisions for their health."

The truth is that the best way to prevent the prevalent spread of HPV is quite simple. Abstinence. Not because it's rigid or even because it's moral (which it is), but because it is healthy. Plain and simple, you cannot get an incurable virus which is transmitted through sexual contact if you do not have sexual contact!

There are so many points to this which can and should be addressed, most especially through the philosophy of the Theology of the Body. This is the basic truth that man is looking for - an anthropology that elevates man from this animalistic idea of "no way to avoid sex so just band-aid it with drugs and contraception and abortion." This understanding gives man dignity and respect, and demands that we allow for the necessity of practicing control to earn such virtues. Nothing good is free, right?

Well, not actually. Many free things are very good, like God's loving us into existence and continuing to love us despite our failures. But beside the fact, the point is that humanity is seeking healing and answers, which the truth offers, but isn't ready to buckle to the weight of what the answers mean. I don't even have time to go into half of what I want to say about these issues, but I'll come back to them and begin to break them all down. For now, read the links!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A "Serious" Discussion

So what if I am too serious!? That is who I am. If you like serious, here you go. If you don’t, sorry I’m not for you. It’s that simple. I am also absolutely ridiculous and will act totally embarrassing and silly periodically because you have to have fun and you must rejoice.
But I cannot cease to be serious, I have learned both the mortality we face and the immortality offered us. Both call for the entire person to be aware!
I am clearly not serious enough, because if I was, God, Heaven, Holiness and all that comes with that would never leave my mind or heart. I would never sin. I would never judge. I would never elevate myself. I would never worry. I would only love, only give, only be thankful, in suffering and delight. That is when I am truly serious, when the whole of God is all that I can dwell on.
The ones who were, dare we say (and I still don’t agree) “too serious” are the ones who have been caught in ecstasy and are found floating towards heaven here. They could not be kept back. If anything, I am too “smart” to be serious enough. The simple ones are the ones who often see past the glamours and promises of this world and can become fully His. I would fit into the category of educated, which means I will forever fight the pride to think I am wise, or learned, instead of seeing the gift I have been given and keeping in mind the many other gifts given to others which I do not posses, such as the gift of simplicity that leads to such speedy possession by Christ.
So if I am too serious, they who would say so do not yet understand what is at stake. Sadly, they must continue to dwell in the thoughts of the world, the lies that say that “religion” is serious and being “religious” is serious enough. There can never be “enough.” Truly. Not if we understand what is being discussed. Not if we have, even for a moment, stood at the precipice of God’s infinite and immense sea of love! It is turbulent in its hunger for our souls. It is calm in its perfection for our peace. It is wind swept in the passionate heat of a heart on fire for the very life breath of every human being.
This is the Father of his children we are speaking of! Could he do anything else but be zealous for our hearts?! That would be contrary to his very nature as Father. By his grace and love we persist as his adopted children. By his very Son he chose to make us so. If his sacrificial love would not cease nor be satiated, even to the point of offering his own Son up to our hatred and sin, our life and death, how can we think there will be a point of “too much” for our return of this love. It cost him a life. And as if that wasn’t enough, it was the life of one dearest to him! And we don’t want to give up a nicer seat in a car because our sister wants to sit there? Are we serious? No! We aren’t! We aren’t keeping in mind the existence of that passionate, living, sea of love. It is real. We are living in a dream world, sometimes unable to see that the real world is just an act of love away.
Why do they say we “come alive” when we experience ourselves being poured out? Firefighters, EMTs, Soldiers, Priests, etc… people who daily give themselves to extreme conditions of service and sacrifice for perfect strangers…they say that the rush of doing something life-threatening, crazy, risky, self-giving, even for someone they do not know, gives them such vitality, such life. Of course it does! That is real life. That is sharing in the life of God. Immortal life. And we can share in this just as simply by smiling at the man on the street, even if he’s dirty and has a cup for coins in his hand. We can share in this life by offering to by that man a sandwich. We can share in this life by praying for that man every day. We can share in this life by realizing that we have an obligation to give of our wealth and be generous because we were given the gifts to have a job and many were not!
Divine love is defined by its gift. How often I hold back! How often I do not want to be drained. OH! If we could understand the power of being drained. What was the fruit of Christ being drained? Eyesight when there was only darkness, firm limbs when there were no muscles, the ceasing of a flow of blood when there had been only that for years… life itself, when that life had gone out. Somehow the father of lies convinces us that because our “draining” isn’t bringing people back from the dead, it isn’t worth the effort. How wrong he is! We may very well indeed be giving life back to that man by being the one to share a meal with him! We are giving ourselves life by learning what it is to give of ourselves!
And it is a habit. One which we must understand is hard to form and takes continual practice and repentance. But it is something which we must attempt. Even the asking of the Father for the grace to form the habit is part of making the habit. We can do it. St. Paul, St. John the Beloved, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Maria Goretti, every saint that has ever lived – they have discovered the habit of passionately being overwhelmed by the sea of God’s love and mercy, of diving off the precipice into the ocean and being swallowed up, so that there is never a time that they hold back or fail to give, because what they have is not their own nor does it hold any value other than what God attributes to it, which is that case is as a gift for the other.
That’s crazy, radical, seemingly impossible. And that is what is serious.
That is what I desire to be serious about. I pray that one day I will be "too" serious. I pray you will be as well.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the Second Luminous Mystery

Pope John Paul II was well known for his love of the Blessed Mother. He declared the "Year of the Rosary" from 2002-2003 within the Catholic Church ( In that same year he wrote an Apostolic Letter on the Virgin Mary and the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae ( ).

In that document, John Paul II instituted five new mysteries of the Rosary, the Luminous Mysteries. Prior to 2002, the Rosary had consisted of three separate Mysteries, each comprised of five decades meditating on the life of Christ and also his Mother. The original three Mysteries are the Joyful (focusing the attention on the life of Mary beginning from the Angel Gabriel's announcement to her of God's desire for her to be the Mother of Christ and Christ's early life), the Sorrowful (focusing on the passion and death of Jesus) and the Glorious (focusing on the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit's decent, and his Mother's Assumption into heaven and Coronation).

The Luminous Mysteries focused on Jesus' life, miracles and teachings between the time of his childhood and his Passion. The mysteries are: The Baptism in the River Jordan, The Miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana, The Proclamation of the Gospel, The Transfiguration, and The Institution of the Eucharist.

I have a personally deep love for this set of mysteries since they were introduced into my life at a time when I was truly deepening my faith and seeking to find a greater love for Christ and Our Lady.

In particular I want to reflect on the Second Luminous Mystery, the Miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana.

In this mystery, many things are happening besides the miracle itself of the water in the water jugs being changed into wine, and one might here some of these less obvious points expounded on in a homily or other discussion; for me, the most obvious miracle of the water being made into wine is exactly what I want to consider.

First, why water into wine? What is the significance beyond the need for the drink at the party?
Water is something more common, more mundane. It is drunk by all people throughout the world at all times. It has little flavor or taste, and is often drunk more from necessity than for pleasure.

Wine, on the other hand, can be very exclusive. It can be sweet, potent, harsh, smooth, etc... It has a distinct taste and flavor and grows more potent with age. It is usually more rare to come by than water and can be hard to acquire, depending on many factors of one's life.

In my understanding, there is a great significance for Christ changing water to wine, especially while we pray with these mysteries. Our Lady is the Victor of Purity, Conceived without sin, the Immaculate Heart. If we are seeking her intercession and praying with her Rosary, it follows that we would be seeking a greater purity of heart and tendency away from sin, even if indirectly or unintentionally.

This is where I took my thought on the water into wine. Purity of heart and holiness are potent things. They stirred the Heart of God, Christ Jesus, to preform a miracle even when "his hour had not yet come" (John 2:4), because the beauty of his Mother's heart was so powerful. Likewise, if we are considering ourselves to be like the water that needs to be made more potent, than as we meditate on this mystery we can see how our being "turned to wine" has implications both for our own souls and also for the community around us.

The potency of Mary not only enabled a miracle, but also began Christ's public ministry, most likely deeply affected and converted those servants who were first-hand witnesses of the miracle, and also made the wedding celebration itself very memorable to all who were present since the best wine was served later.

On that thought, if we are being changed from water to wine, we will certainly be infiltrating our circles of influence with the flavor and intoxication of the Gospel.
Our own hearts will also be burning with that intoxication, and our vision will be altered. We will begin to see the things of the world more indistictly, and find walking the path of the world much more challenging. Balancing ourselves will become only possible in light of the drink which would be our only consumption - the Love of God.

Just think, the human body is about 65% water, on average. If that much of our physical being was transformed into a living water, a wine which burned up the impurities in our systems and left only something strong and sweet within us, who would recognize us? It would certainly be no wonder if the world mocked us then, when we would not only be foolish in the drunken way, but foolish for an unseen God, no less!

But He is not so unseen, and the more we are transformed the deeper into his image we will fall. Our Lady carried within her womb God made man for nine months.
Even before His conception, Mary was perfectly without sin. Yet, how much more must she have been like Him after having his body within her own? Do we not have the same opportunity to carry his Body within us every day? (The answer to that is yes!)

So when you sit down to pray the Luminous Mysteries (hopefully today since it is Thursday), keep in mind that the transformation of the water to wine can be something spiritual and physical for us now, and for all who we encounter who find the Gospel proclaimed in our actions and words.

To love is a decision, to pray is a choice, to live is a gift. Seek a life of love.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Radical Love

I recently had a discussion about priesthood, and the call and answer which are included under that topic.

Part of the conversation included deliberating about the necessity of sacrificing one's ability to have a family to serve the Church in this way - namely, celibacy.

My opinion is a simple one. 

First, we need passion. Second, we need sacrifice. Third, we need radicalness.

As far as I have experienced in this life, we cannot live with ourselves and our lives unless we find that we are being fulfilled. That journey, whether spiritual, material, physical, marital, etc... is one embarked on by everyone in some form. 

In this certain area, I find it unaccountable to think that anyone would want to dedicate and focus their entire life without it being something that has great stakes. Why would I want to be something mediocre, when I can be a hero? Why would I want to be Claudius when I could be Maximus? It simply stands that greater sacrifice, risk, commitment, etc... leaves us feeling more fulfilled, proud, strong and prepared for life.

I would think of it this way - I would never consider marrying someone who wanted to be able to date on the side so that they did not have to completely commit their life to me. Most people, I believe, would agree with that. Therefore, why is it arguable to say that we would accept a priesthood that could, when desirous, date other people, or marry, or have a family?

There is no fairness there to the Church as a whole, who as the Body of Christ deserve a shepherd who is seeking to be completely like the Head of the Body, who is Christ the Lord. Likewise there is no justice for a family who is asked to share their head of the family with a much larger community, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

I don't really consider it a point of contention, when thought through logically. Simply put, any life long choice should be considered a radical one. Anything that will affect your entire lifestyle, future, hopes, dreams, formation, etc... should be taken seriously and be something that you can look back on at any time and feel proud of and at peace with. Therefore, it stands that as a radical choice involving your heart and soul, it should be made with radical love. A radical love that is met in equality with a radical sacrifice, radical commitment, radical passion. 

That is what I would want for myself, and likewise for anyone making a choice to live for the Lord.